Working with plaintiffs’ counsel and lawyers for Volkswagen, the federal government has reached a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal, deemed “one of the largest consumer class action payouts in American history” by the New York Times. Owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles will be provided with substantial compensation through buybacks, lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments. As noted by the Times, the settlement “should also act as a deterrent to future bad behavior by companies that deliberately violate rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment.”
For years, Volkswagen concealed the fact that it was cheating on diesel emissions tests and violating U.S. environmental standards. The supposed “clean diesel” vehicles actually discharged 40 times the nitrogen oxide levels that were permitted under the Clean Air Act. It was not until late 2015 that the German automaker publicly admitted it had rigged emissions production in the diesel engines of approximately 11 million VW and Audi vehicles worldwide.
If approved by the Court, the class-wide settlement terms will include a funding pool of up to $10.033 billion for the nearly 500,000 affected owners of VW diesel vehicles, in addition to $4.7 billion to lessen the environmental impact and hold the automaker accountable for emissions misconduct. The settlement thus far only applies to cars with 2-liter engines sold in the United States. Separate negotiations over the 85,000 additional cars with 3-liter engines is continuing. Recently, VW announced that it will be moving towards electric automobiles, investing $2 billion in manufacturing zero-emissions vehicles.
Lieff Cabraser Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi Emissions Fraud Attorneys
Lieff Cabraser represents Volkswagen (and VW-owned Porsche and Audi) owners in class action lawsuits filed in federal courts in numerous states over the 2015 VW emissions fraud scandal. The case is In Re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).